Phil Jackson and the Steve Alford hire: What a difference a weekend makes

Phil Jackson, shown coaching the Lakers in 2011, waited a little to long before becoming involved in the UCLA coaching search.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Funny story the way I hear it.

Once UCLA failed to land Virginia Commonwealth Coach Shaka Smart and Butler’s Brad Stevens, Athletic Director Dan Guerrero talked to Phil Jackson’s representative.

Guerrero didn’t want Jackson as coach, but rather to have him lead the search for a new UCLA basketball coach.

Jackson was agreeable.

Guerrero talked to Jackson’s agent about having a news conference to announce Jackson was onboard.


Jackson’s agent told Guerrero what it would cost to hire him as consultant. As part of the discussion, UCLA hoped to count on Jackson meeting with recruits later to help the new coach in his work.

Guerrero told Jackson’s agent he would take the holiday weekend before putting the deal together.

And don’t we all know what happens when Jackson’s name is mentioned and folks wait the weekend before finalizing anything?

Guerrero never got back to Jackson’s agent and on Saturday hired Steve Alford.

—T.J. Simers